Since drafting the ordinance in June, The Resistance Center has worked on introducing the Welcoming Community Trust ordinance into the Springfield City Council. On Monday, December 17, the ordinance faced its 3rd and final reading – and passed with a margin of 10-3. (It has been vetoed, expectedly, by Mayor Sarno, but it will only require 9 votes to override his veto.)
This ordinance continues the work we began in 2011, when then-Springfield City Councilor Amaad Rivera introduced a resolution to minimize the use of the city’s resources in enforcing civil (non-criminal) immigration issues.
The Welcoming Community Trust ordinance enshrines a number of common-sense protections for residents in Springfield, including (but not limited to:)
- Ensuring a person’s immigration status doesn’t prevent them from receiving emergency services, educational services, reporting housing violations, and other rights.
- Non-criminal offenses (including most immigration offenses) will not be the responsibility of city employees, including the police.
- Churches, hospitals, schools, and other institutions of faith, medicine, and education can no longer be targeted by city politicians.
- Affirming participation by the city in programs that benefit all residents, like the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), U- and T-VISA programs (which protect witnesses and victims of crime.)
Our next step is to gather community members to speak out in favor of overriding Mayor Sarno’s veto – so keep an eye out!
If you are interested in joining TRC’s Migration Advocacy Committee, please contact us!